Legio II Parthica

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de:Legio II Parthica Legio II Parthica was a Roman legion levied by emperor Septimius Severus in 197 AD, for his campaign against the Parthian Empire of Iran, hence the cognomen Parthica. The legion was still active in the middle of the 4th century. The legion's symbol were a centaur and a bull.

Together with its twin legions I Parthica and III Parthica, the Second Parthian legion was levied for the attack on the eastern frontier. The campaign was a success and Ctesiphon, the Parthian capital was taken and sacked. After this war, II Parthica returned to Italia, and was stationed near Rome, in Castra Albana (Albano Laziale) – it was the first legion stationed in Italia in the last two centuries. Since it was not garrisoning a Roman province, their functioned both as a reserve that could be used in afflicted parts of the Empire, as well as a security element against possible internal rebellions. Emperors in the 3rd century were very likely to have problems with usurpers and Severus, by stationing the II Parthica near the capital, was aware of it.

Nevertheless, the legion served in the Severan campaign in Britain of 208/211 AD and afterwards, under Caracalla against the Germanic tribe of the Alamanni in 213. Next, the legion was again sent to Parthia and their commander Macrinus was responsible for Caracalla's murder in that region in 217. In the following year, however, the II Parthica, stationed in Apamea (Syria), abandoned Macrinus and sided with Elagabalus, who would become emperor instead. This new usurper of usurpers awarded the legion with the cognomina Pia Fidelis Felix Aeterna (forever faithful, loyal and lucky).

In 231 the legion fought under Alexander Severus against the Persian Sassanid dynasty and returned with the emperor to the Germania provinces. It was at Mainz (Roman Moguntiacum) when Alexander was assassinated in 235. In the following fight for the power, the II Parthica sided with Maximinus Thrax. In 238, the Roman senate declared Maximinus persona non grata and nominated Gordian III as emperor. Maximinus then marched on Rome to fight for his rights, taking the II Parthica, among other legions, with him. What happened next is a good example of the political power of the legions in the 3rd century. The II Parthica weighted the chances of its commander and, concluding that supporting him was not a good move, they killed Maximinus before he could harass the senate. As a reward, they were pardoned by supporting a public enemy and allowed to return to their camp in the Alban mountains.

In the next decades they were used as reinforcements in several provinces within the empire and continued to be used as pawns in the constant battles for the imperial throne of the 3rd century.

At the beginning of the 4th century, II Parthica had abandoned Italy. The Second is in the Tigris frontier in the middle of the 4th century, just before a major Roman defeat by the Persians in Singara, Mesopotamia. In 360, the Shapur II of Persia attacked and conquered the Roman fortified city of Bezabde (modern Cizre, in Turkey), which was defended by II Partica, II Armeniaca and II Flavia Virtutis (Ammianus Marcellinus, Res Gestae, xx 7). According Notitia Dignitatum, II Parthica was in Cepha, Turkey, around 400, under the command of the Dux Mesopotamiae.

See also: List of Roman legions

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